Monday, 27 January 2014

Does President Jonathan understand?

Over the past one month, President Goodluck Jonathan has spoken three times in defense of the national automotive policy introduced by his administration late last year.
From the various comments by the President, he sounded convinced beyond reasonable doubts that the new policy is good for Nigeria and Nigerians. His very simple argument is that it will boost local production of automobiles, reduce importation of vehicles, conserve foreign exchange and create employment for Nigerians.
Yes the policy has the potential of doing so but I believe, as many other Nigerians, that implementation of the policy at this time is premature. It will have a counter effect and lead to revenue leakage for this country.
Truth is that many are not convinced by President Goodluck Jonathan’s assurance that Nigerians stand to benefit from immediate implementation of the policy approved last year by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) even as he stated that its aim was not to inflict pains on them.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Open letter to the Minister of Transport

Dear Honourable Minister,
Please pardon me for sending this letter to you through this channel. I chose this means to underscore the importance of my message and because of its urgency.
I won’t take much of your precious time; it is a short letter; not anywhere near 18 pages.
You are someone I hold in high esteem and I will be happy to see you grow politically rather than take on an appointment that may truncate your political future.
I am also a little bit selfish; I don’t want you to leave your present position because you are beginning to understand the maritime industry and its various challenges. If you leave now, who knows how long it will take the next person to understand the sector. Your departure at this time therefore will be a drawback for the shipping sector. Besides, I have a good working relationship with you and I may not have access to you again if you become the PDP national chairman.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Stuck in ice

I started writing this piece at a most unusual place; the licensing of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) at Ikeja, Lagos. No I did go there to interview the Sector Commander neither did I have the privilege of sitting in a cosy office. I sat right under a makeshift tent with over 50 other driving licence applicants waiting to be called in for the capture of my photograph and biometric data. I have actually been at it for about eight months and I am nowhere near the finish line. Eight months to obtain a driving licence! And it is all in the hands of our public officers; all Nigerians. If foreign companies had been contracted to handle the licence issuance, we would have shouted ourselves hoarse but there we were, all of us, sitting quietly like caged animals. A lady sitting next to me said I was lucky. She started processing hers in February last year; a period of 18 months. And the entire environment was a mess, definitely not a comfortable place to work from. After this, I won’t ever visit that place again, I told myself. But then, I was wrong. The man in charge came out to meet us under the tent with the bad news.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

My Man of the Year

The Federal Government’s port reform of 2006, laudable as it was, did not come without its own share of pains. Workers of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who lost their jobs in the course of that exercise were scarred the most.
For the avoidance of doubt, I support the port reform programme because I believe in its objectives which included the reduction of turnaround time for vessels; reduction of cargo dwell time and enhancement of security of ships at berth and cargoes at terminals. The administration of President Obasanjo was also keen on attracting private funds and freeing public resources for social services; create efficient and user-friendly ports; with the basic tenet being the public ownership of port infrastructure and the transfer of cargo operational responsibilities to the private sector as a means of improving efficiency.